Pepper Jam

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:50 am on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Town Hall is a restaurant in San Francisco and they make a great pepper jam that they serve with buttermilk biscuits. One day, when contemplating what to do with all the peppers I grew, I checked to see I could find the recipe. It turns out there’s a cookbook by the Town Hall chef and the pepper jam recipe is online.

I made the recipe and was pleased with the results. The jam is sweet with a spicy kick. I served it at a party I had and it was a hit. Here’s the recipe:

Pepper Jam

(Adapted from Cooking My Way Back Home)

Ingredients:

    3 bell peppers (I used chocolate bell peppers)
    3 1/4 c sugar
    3/4 c cider vinegar
    1 tsp dried chile flakes
    3 oz liquid pectin

Directions:

Clean and sterilize 2-3 jars and lids.

Halve the peppers lengthwise and remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Chop into 1-inch pieces. Pulse the peppers in a food processor until finely chopped.

Put the peppers to a heavy-bottomed pot and add the sugar, vinegar, and chile flakes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the pectin, and cook, stirring until the jam registers 220°F on a candy thermometer.

Remove the jam from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the jars. You can seal them using this method or store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Enjoy!

Easy Zucchini Pickles

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:11 am on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I’m already overwhelmed by zucchini. It’s no wonder since my zucchini plants are huge.

Therefore, I tried Judy’s Zucchini Pickles, which are served at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.

The ingredients are pretty common–apple-cider vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard, onion, turmeric, and zucchini, of course–and the pickles are ready in only a few days. They are a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet, i.e. a perfect side for grilling.

Mr. Savvy wants to try them with pulled pork. I say yes to that.

Click here for the recipe.

6 Bell Pepper Recipes

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:52 am on Monday, September 8, 2014

Check out that mighty fine orange bell pepper I grew in my garden!

I have a rainbow of bell peppers in my fridge thanks to my garden and my pepper growing experiment. Here’s some ideas for what do to with them:

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Baked Eggs In Bell Pepper Rings

Spanish-style Lamb Stew with Roasted Red Peppers

Polenta-Stuffed Peppers

Sausages and Peppers Yum!

What’s your favorite way to have bell pepper?

Make Your Own Standard English Bitter Beer

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:40 am on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last year, I Grew My Own Hops. You may be wondering what we did with those hops. Well, we made a Standard English Bitter with them.

The below recipe is from the book Brewing Classic Styles, except we changed it based on what malt we could get and the addition of homegrown hops. The resulting beer is great. First of all, it’s low-alcohol, only 3.6%. And it has a lot of flavor and depth for a lighter beer. It has a strong flavor with a hint of fruit and a subtle bitterness.

Plus, using fresh hops gave the beer a light, fresh, floral note that was surprising and awesome.

I can wait to see what Mr. Savvy Makes with this year’s hops!



Standard English Bitter

Statistics:

    abv (alcohol): 3.6 percent
    ibu (bitterness): 32
    og (original gravity): 1.038
    fg (final gravity): 1.011

Ingredients:

    8 pounds British pale malt
    1/2 pound extra dark caramel malt (120 L)
    1/4 pound British crystal malt (50-60 L)
    3 ounces hops:
    (34 grams of cascade at 60 minutes
    14 grams at 30 minutes
    14 grams at 1 minute)
    1 vial white labs wlp002 English ale yeast

Fermented at 68 degrees Fahrenheit
Mash at 152 degrees Fahrenheit
60 minute boil

Want more? Check out Beer Making Part 1 and Beer Making Part 2.

What To Do With Pickled Jalapeños

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:54 am on Monday, August 25, 2014

I’m getting a bumper crop of jalapeños in my garden, thanks for the pepper experiment I did last year.

I’ve decided to make pickled jalapeños for the first time. But then, I thought, what would I do with pickled jalapeños once I had them?

A lot, it turns out. Here are 9 ways to use up pickled jalapeños–or any pickled pepper, for that matter.

Use Pickled Jalapenos In Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (also quesadillas)

Stick Them In A Bloody Mary

Add Jalapeños To Deviled Eggs

Top A Hot Dog With Jalapeños (or a hamburger.)

Make Jalapeño Cornbread


[Pham Fatale]

Put Jalapeños In Fish Tacos (or other kinds of tacos)

Cook A Chicken Breast With Jalapeños And Cheese

Make Jalapeño Garlic Cheese Bread


[Seasaltwithfood]

Last but not least: Make Some Nachos

Dinosaur Fossil Sugar Cookies

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 6:58 am on Thursday, August 21, 2014

This is a cute idea. Make sugar cookies and then use the foot of a toy dinosaur to imprint the top. Hurrah, you’ve made Dinosaur Fossil Sugar Cookies.

Or use plastic insects to make regular fossil sugar cookies.

Lots of possibilities here!

The second recipe says to use “food safe plastic bugs,” but personally, I would just make sure the toys were clean before using. But then, I’m crazy like that.

How I Made Blackberry Jam For $.69 A Jar

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:31 am on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This year, I took a lunch hour to pick some berries from a patch down the road and got a pretty good haul. Since Savvy Jr. has been eating a lot of toast, I decided to make jam with it the berries. I made the following recipe, which makes eight 8-ounce jars of jam.

Since I got the berries for free and re-used jars, the only things I bought for the jam were the pectin ($3.99) and the sugar ($1.50). That means each jar of jam cost only $.69 to make.

My recipe uses 5 cups of sugar. Most jam recipes call for more than that—7 cups of sugar is common, sometimes you even see 10 cups.

That might be necessary if you have sour berries (which is often the case with frozen berries or store-bought berries), but that’s way too much sugar for good berries, if you ask me. My idea of jam is summer in a jar. You want it to taste like mashed, sweet fruit, not gelled sugar.

I find this recipe works fine with regular pectin, but to make sure it gels nicely, use low-sugar pectin if you have a choice. It acts and tastes like regular pectin—you won’t notice the difference.

Blackberry Jam
(Makes 8 8-ounce jars)

Ingredients:

    5 cups blackberries
    4-5 cups sugar
    1 (1 3/4 ounce) package low-sugar pectin
    1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Sanitize your jars, either with a dishwasher’s sanitize mode or by boiling them for 10 minutes. Wash the lids and rings with soap. Put the jars upside down on a clean towel until you’re ready to use them.

Wash the berries and remove any twigs or debris.

Put the berries in a large stainless steel pot. Mash with a potato masher.

Add the pectin a little at a time, stirring as you go. Heat the berries on high heat and bring to a full boil.

Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Taste the jam. Add more sugar if needed. (The finished jam will taste pretty much like the jam in the pot, so keep that in mind when tasting.)

Bring the mixture back to a full boil. Let boil for one minute.

Remove from the heat. Ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving about 1/4-inch space at the top. Put on the lid and rings on the jars.

Put the jars in a pot and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.

Remove the jam from the water and let sit upright on the towel at room temperature for 12 hours.

Ta-da! Jam! You can eat it within a day or two after making it. Enjoy!

Vegetable-Heavy Entrees I’ve Made Recently

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:03 am on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My fridge is jammed with vegetables from my garden right now. We’ve been eating like kings for very little money. There’s a reason they say the living is easy during the summer.

Here’s some dinners I’ve had lately that have been vegetable heavy that I heartily recommend.

Ratatouille

I had never made ratatouille before and was doubtful I would like it. I was wrong. Ratatouille is AWESOME. I made Jacques Pepin’s recipe and served it on the side of red snapper en Papillote, along with some nice bread and wine.

The thing is, I didn’t care about the fish because the ratatouille was so good. I just wanted to eat more and more of it. And it takes a tons of veggies: eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, olives, and peppers. Because most of the veggies were from my garden, the only things I bought for the ratatouille were the eggplant, olives, and olive oil.

Lamb Kebabs With Sides Of Sauteed Chard and Caprese Salad

This was one of those “riches of summer” meals where you really feel the season. I marinated cubed lamb in a way similar to this recipe, using all herbs from the garden. Then put them on skewers with sliced fennel bulb and zucchini from the–you guessed it!–garden. While Mr. Savvy grilled the kebabs, I sauteed fresh chard (garden) with garlic, onion, feta, pecans, and a slight squeeze of lemon (garden). Then I made a Caprese salad, using tomatoes (garden), basil (garden), and fresh mozzarella. It was a lovely dinner.

Zucchini and Corn Quesadilla With Easy Guacamole


[Image From Ezra Pound Cake]

This was a big hit. It’s a cheese quesadilla with zucchini (garden), onions, and corn in it. (Canned corn worked great, but it’s easy to get fresh right now.) I used Martha Stewart’s recipe. Then we ate them with my version of easy guacamole: mash up an avocado and sprinkle in a little bit of salt and pepper in it.

Vegetable Pot Pie

You can make a Vegetable Pot Pie on a Monday and get a couple of dinners or lunches out of it. I have my own recipe that I’ll eventually share, but in the meantime, this recipe looks pretty decent. My veggie pot pie had zucchini, carrots, green beans, onions, garlic, (all garden) and mushrooms.

Fettuccine with Sausage, Basil, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I made fresh fettuccine with my pasta machine and tossed it with Mario Batli’s sauce of sausage (homemade), basil (garden), and sun-dried tomatoes (leftover from last year’s garden). There’s nothing like fresh pasta.

Yep. We’re eating well around here.

And we’re not done yet. Here are some upcoming vegetable entrees I have planned:

What To Do With Chard

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:52 am on Monday, August 11, 2014

I have four thriving chard plants in my garden this year. That’s fine with me, since I like chard better than other greens, like kale. And you can use chard (or beet greens) in any recipe that calls for kale or mustard greens. Here are some ideas:

Spicy Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Polenta. This looks like a great Monday night dinner.

Chard Fritters. Hm. Kinds like chard chips, only in fritter form.

Swiss Chard And Bacon Turnovers. You could do an easier version of this with frozen puffed pastry, too.

Chard Pesto. A good way to preserve extra chard.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Chard, and Parsnips. Yum, is all I have to say.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With White Beans and Chard. I love this idea. I think I’ll try it.

Orange Marmalade

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:35 am on Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My orange tree is giving me a lot of oranges this year, so I decided to make orange marmalade. I’m pleased with how it came out.

I used Alton Brown’s recipe, except I reduced the amount of sugar in it. His recipe calls for about 7 cups of sugar, which seemed like way too much. I cut it in half to 3.5 cups and it tastes perfect to me. Here’s the recipe:

Orange Marmalade
Adapted from Alton Brown.

Ingredients

    1 3/4 pounds oranges, 4 to 5 medium
    1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
    6 cups water
    3.5-4 cups sugar

Equipment:

    10 8-ounce canning jars with rings and lids
    Funnel
    Tongs
    Ladle
    12-quart pot


Directions:

Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly. Cut the oranges into 1/8-inch slices. Remove the seeds. Cut the orange slices up into quarters.

Put the oranges in a stainless steel pot. Add the lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil, which will take about 10 minutes. Once boiling, reduce the heat so that the marmalade is at a rapid simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring periodically so it doesn’t burn. The fruit should be very soft.

Sanitize your jars. Here’s how Alton says to do it: “While the fruit is cooking, fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 10 (8-ounce) jars and rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.”

Put a plate in the freezer. When the 40 minutes are up, bring the marmalade back to a boil. Add the sugar. Carefully taste to see if you like how sweet/bitter the marmalade will be. Adjust accordingly.

Stir the mixture continually until the marmalade darkens in color and it reaches 222 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

To test if the marmalade is ready, take out your frozen plate and put a dab of the marmalade on it. If it’s ready, the mixture should be a soft gel that moves when you tilt the plate. If the mixture is thin and runs, it’s not ready.

Transfer the marmalade into the jars. Put on the lids and rims. Tighten and wipe away any spillage with a damp cloth.

To finish the marmalade, put the jars into boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and let the cans sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening.

Voila! Marmalade. You can store it for up to 6 months.

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